Jewish Culture

Charlie Richter

Two Jewish cultures; Hanukkah and Bar/Bat Miztvahs

Let's take a look at two important traditions in the Jewish Culture, Hanukkah and Bar/Bat Miztvahs. Both of these traditions are well known throughout the world and have a lot of history and importance in the Jewish community.


Hanukkah is the yearly Jewish Festival of Lights that starts on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar. In Hebrew Hanukkah means dedication. It actually is not a big religious holiday even though it is the most well known Jewish festivals.

In 165 B.C.E. the Jewish Maccabees won the battle against the Syrian army and got them of out Jerusalem and they got their temple back. Hanukkah is the celebration of their victory!

One of the most important Hanukkah traditions is the lighting of the menorah. A menorah is a candelabra and has places for candles. When the Jewish people won against Syria they wanted to light their temple to celebrate but only had enough oil to last one day. They were very surprised when the oil lasted eight days. This is why the Jews light candles in the menorah for the eight days of Hanukkah and light one candle each day.

Another popular tradition in Hanukkah is giving gifts. A new gift is given each night. Families also play with a toy called a dreidal. A dreidal has 4 sides with Hebrew letters on it. The game is played with candy. Families also celebrate with fried foods because it reminds them of the special oil used to light the temple. Some of the foods Jews eat during Hanukkah are potato pancakes and jelly donuts.

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Bar/Bat Mitzvahs

In Jewish culture another popular tradition is Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. This is celebrated when a boy is 13 and a girl is 12. 'Bar" means son and " Bat" means daughter in Hebrew. "Mitzvah" means commandment in Hebrew.

In Jewish law when a boy and a girl turns 12 and 13 they become responsible for their own actions. Parents are responsible of their children's actions before this age in Jewish culture. They are then supposed to participate in all areas of Jewish life and community. Also, they must follow all laws of the Torah (the Jewish bible) and take classes or go to Hebrew school before the age of 12 and 13.

Many families celebrate Bar and Bat Mitzvahs with big parties. They celebrate this because the boys and girls worked hard and are so happy to follow all the commandments given in the Torah.

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Jewish culture has many important traditions, celebrations and symbols. Hanukkah and Bat/Bar Miztvahs are just two of the most recognized and celebrated throughout the world.Learning more about other cultures and history can help us understand other cultures in our school and community.

Works Cited

"Hanukkah - ReligionFacts." Hanukkah - ReligionFacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2015. <>.

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"Jewish Practices & Rituals: Bar/Bat Mitzvah & Confirmation." Bar/Bat Mitzvah & Confirmation. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2015. <>.